The prediction of fluid flow behaviour in petroleum reservoirs is influenced by the physical and chemical processes active in interacting crude oil/brine/rock systems. It is usually not possible to assess these complex systems directly so proxies for molecular scale behaviour are needed. By their very nature, polar non-hydrocarbons are sensitive to fluid-rock interactions, and if properly exploited they may be utilised as proxies for describing reservoir engineering properties (e.g. wettability) that are also sensitive to fluid-rock interactions. We have identified a group of aromatic oxygen (alkylphenols and alkylfluorenones) and aromatic nitrogen (alkylcarbazoles) compounds present in petroleum that appear to respond to variations in fluid-rock properties. Here we describe the chemical and physical changes in a series of core samples obtained from North Sea reservoirs. A number of petrophysical parameters displayed strong correlations with polar non-hydrocarbon occurrence. For example, deflections in gamma ray logs in response to clay content in a coarsening upwards sandstone unit also showed similar deflections from a number of geochemical logs. A core-flood experiment was designed to monitor the chemical and physical changes during oil migration in a siltstone core. Following completion of the core-flood experiment, Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM) analysis of core samples indicated hydrophilic and hydrophobic surface tendencies grading throughout the core. The distributions of polar non-hydrocarbons (e.g. C0-C3-phenols) appear to correspond closely to the observed wettability alteration. The results confirm the potential for developing proxies for fluid-rock interactions through monitoring the surface active compounds present in the polar non-hydrocarbon fraction of petroleum. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Reservoir engineering
- Reservoir geochemistry